Hamilton’s July 25th Summer Celebration Goes Away
You can't say they didn't try. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the final cancellation of special activities in downtown Hamilton the weekend of July 25th. The original plan of the Hamilton Downtown Association (HDA) was a repeat of successful Daly Days events - the Friday night street dance, the weiner dog races and the sidewalk sales, along with a car show and entertainment on the 4th and Main stage. Plus, that was the weekend of the Hard Times Bluegrass Festival and the Bitterroot Brewfest.
Montana stepped out of its "Stay at Home" restrictions with a Phase Two opening. Looking at those rules, HDA dropped Daly Days and instead was planning sidewalk sales only, called Crazy Days (which pre-dated Daly Days in Hamilton's pre-2000 past). The Daly Mansion planned their own version of Daly Days with outside history sessions. The Bitterroot Brewfest also was set to move from downtown to the 26-acre Daly Mansion grounds. However ...
Unfortunately, the positive COVID-19 tests started to increase. The Chamber of Commerce postponed the Brewfest until later this year. The Daly Days activities were dropped. And yet, the COVID-19 cases continued to increase, along with incidence of community spread of the virus. This week, the Ravalli County Public Health Department canceled September's Ravalli County Fair. That major decision was the final straw for HDA - this week they announced the cancellation of Crazy Days.
The Bitterroot Valley's summertime activities have taken a huge hit with this virus - some of the events cancelled or postponed besides the Brewfest, Ravalli County Fair and Crazy/Daly Days are: the Hard Times Bluegrass Festival, Stevensville's Creamery Picnic, Shakespeare in the Parks, the Sapphire Lutheran Homes summer concert series, the Tuesday at 12 free noon concerts and the Thursday evening Hamilton bandshell performances. The Corvallis Memorial Day parade was greatly shortened and many non-profits are turning to the internet for Online Auctions to raise money.
On the positive side, the July 4th Fireworks were great and the Saturday Farmer's Markets have been a welcome activity on the weekends. In announcing the cancellation of Crazy Days, Hamilton Downtown Association Executive Director Claire Kemp said, "This is a very challenging time for all and it is hard to know what the right decision is. Sometimes it seems there are no good choices, but only 'least-worse' ones. We ask that you continue to support our local businesses and do what you can to build common ground in this time of uncertainty and division."